After my trip up into the wilds of Marsden, it seemed to be the sensible thing to do to try the other Valley, the Holme Valley, somewhere I had not been for a while, so armed with the trusty Beer Guide, last weekend I took a look at the pubs of Holmfirth.
First stop was the Farmers Arms at Burnlee. It is a lovely pub with a real country feel about it, about 15 minutes walk from Holmfirth centre towards Manchester up the A635 and hiding on a small side road on the right behind Compo's Cafe. It does have a food menu, but the kitchen was closed on the day I visited. Notwithstanding that, the beer range is excellent for a pub of its size, with at least 6 real ales on the bar. All appeared to be regulars except for one changing guest beer, from Moorhouses on my visit. I settled for a pint of Adnams Bitter and it was top notch with all the background flavours I love about the beer and that little hint of saltiness that makes it unique.
I would have been quite happy to stay there all day but other pubs, and food beckoned so it was back into Holmfirth for more sampling.
I have never 'got on' with The Nook, which is still as quirky as ever, and nothing on this visit changed my opinion. There were 8 beers on the bar, but again the guests seemed to come from Moorhouses, although I did have an average pint of Kelham Island 'Pride of Sheffield.'
The next stop was The Old Bridge Hotel in Holmfirth centre. I remember in the past it used to be an rare outlet for Batemans beers in the area, but on this occasion, there were 3 local guest beers on the bar, from Brass Monkey and Summer Wine IPA. I chose the latter, which at 4.2%, did not seem like an IPA, and tasted distinctively malty. The pub itself was heaving, plenty of decent food being served, and the clientele being a mixture of locals and tourists. Despite it being an hotel bar, it was very comfortable and its commitment to real ale does it credit.
The last call was round the corner at Herveys bar, I have never been here before because of its unusual opening hours. It felt to be basically a wine bar but it did have 4 handpumps, 3 of them serving Copper Dragon beers, and the Golden Pippin was well kept.
It would be easy to continue this crawl back down the valley towards Huddersfield. There are frequent buses but check where they go, the route is notorius for going off the main road, and off in directions you do not want to go. One can call in the Monkey Club at Armitage Bridge, or the pubs and clubs of Berry Brow, or nearer to Town, The Star or The Rat & Ratchet, however will save them for another day.